Review | Dali After Dark takes you to a Surrealist wonderland

Dali After Dark | Dali Land | til 17th Feb | ★ ★ ★ ★

If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to take a trip with Alice down the rabbit hole, this Fringe World experience may just be your Wonderland.

Dali Land was unveiled at the beginning of this year’s Fringe World as a tribute to the work of Surrealist master Salvador Dali, showing off a transformed Metro City fittingly decorated with trinkets both bizarre and wonderful. The venue plays host to the fabulously talented team at Club Briefs – and now you can become part of the art in this immersive Dali After Dark tour.

Attendees are split into smaller groups, taking turns at 15-minute intervals to enter the Dali Land from a secret entrance. Bewildered tour-goers are led to a side door, where we are met by Gala Dali, Salvador’s wife who delivers the rules of the evening and leads us into the unknown.

Without spoiling any of the fun, Gala leads the group through a serpentine hallway to a secluded space, decorated with a large curtain covered in motifs that can be found throughout Dali’s work. The group is greeted by Salvador himself and where he waxes lyrical about his work and life. Muffled music can be heard from outside of the sheet-walls, which made Salvador a little hard to hear – but who knows what’s supposed to be happening in a temple to the bizarre? Perhaps his message was supposed to be unclear.

The tour continues, led by Carrollesque rabbits who eventually reveal the venue at large where the audience is free to explore the vast space. Metro City’s many staircases and balconies almost seem like a nod to the work of Escher, as we are invited to step into the club’s many rooms where strange surprises await.

Performers from Club Briefs and Hot Brown Honey roam the halls, filling the space with happenings that had tour-goers following closely to see what might happen next. Many of the walls are embellished with works by Dali and other Surrealists such as Man Ray, Jean Cocteau and Max Ernst – and a screening of the eyeball slicing Un Chein Andalou can be taken in on the balcony.

At a certain time (you’ll know when!) the audience is rushed up to the balconies, where the free-roaming evening culminates in a spectacular performance by the artists. Beat-boxing, aerial acrobatics, trampoline antics and general madness takes over the stage bringing the two-hour experience to a fitting – and abrupt – end. The audience is invited to stay at the Surrealist Salon, Dali Land’s rooftop bar with a view and look back on their time in Wonderland.

I had expected the tour portion of the evening would take longer, but being able to explore the space at your own whim just makes the journey down the rabbit hole feel that much ‘curiouser and curiouser’.

The concept behind Dali After Dark is incredible, and paired with both this space and the exceptional talent of the Briefs and Hot Brown Honey family makes for a thrilling immersive experience for art aficionados and Fringe fanatics alike.

Dali After Dark will continue at Dali Land until Sunday 17th February. Tickets and more information available from dali-land.com

Leigh Andrew Hill

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